The abandoned Grossinger’s Catskill Resort Hotel is located adjacent to the golf course of the still-functioning Grossinger’s County Club. I had therefore figured I could just park at the Club and act like a golfer long enough to slip onto the Resort’s grounds. There was a gatehouse, however, so I had to swing my car back onto Route 52 in Liberty and find elsewhere to park.
I knew the Pizza Hut down a side street probably wouldn’t tow me, so I left the car parked in the side lot after deciding to leave the criminally-conspicuous boltcutters Chris found at the Middetown Psychiatric Center in the trunk. Clements Road seemed to parallel the grounds of the Resort, so I walked alongside it until the street was empty of cars, then plunged into the thorny forest.
After extracting myself from the thorns, I found an overgrown dirt road and followed it successfully to Grossinger’s first building. The place had been overrun with nature and blown through with wanderers. Technicolored graffiti was everywhere. One of the rooms had fresh clothing and boots next to a bunkbed someone was probably coming home to that night. I saw the tag “Gypsy” all over the first structure. Outside, more evidence of human use: a natural moat around the next building was bridged with scrap-wood at all the structure’s entries. I walked across a couple of pallets and into an entertainment hall. Grossinger’s began when Asher Selig Grossinger opened a Kosher Bed & Breakfast serving travelers from NYC. In 1919, he sold it to open the establishment that would become the Resort, calling it Grossinger’s Terrace Hill House.
At it’s height, Grossinger’s featured 35 buildings on 1200 acres that served 150,000 guests a year. It had its own airstrip. It had the first ski slopes to make artificial snow. It, evidently, had its own power plant. The next building I came across was the most visually-stimulating place I had ever been in. The glass walls were all tagged, and the paint dyed the sunlight as it passed through as though it was entering a cathedral. The light beamed across the ferns and moss growing thick on the concrete floor, altering their lime hue. Foxwoods recently dropped out of the bidding war to decide the two—or, if goes badly for the Hudson Valley, one—sites that will be licensed by the state to operate non-Indian casinos, which were recently legalized. I’m glad the plan fell through, because I couldn’t see any way to improve the place..